Saturday, May 5, 2012

Locating the Wicked Leak

Early last winter I began to notice that the water pump was turning on about every 30 minutes so added it's repair to my "to do" list, but have procrastinated to do any thing about it.  In January, with the help of my brother we pulled the well pump and replaced a defective checkvalve.

Ahh! ...problem solved or was it?

Since I am a light sleeper after 2 am and the "clicking" on/off water pump switch is in the basement below our bed room I could now hear the pump clicking on every 20 minutes. We pulled the pump again to check for leaks and even pressurized the line from the well head to the check valve and the pressure held! The in well line was not the source of the leak.

At the ground surface there were no wet areas that would indicate a leak. I started isolating various lines within the house - the pressure holds. Isolated the pressure tank - the pressure holds.

So where is this 'wikileak'??? 

After a few more months and recovery from my burned foot (See blog entry for April 1st "Amputation" ), I decided to become a mole, grave digger, or just a crazy man with a round pointed shovel and find this "wicked leak". Our water line from the well has two branch lines to a hydrant near the garden and another at the barn/pond. I've never been very confident in my plumbing of the pond side hydrant, so I dug holes there first. No leak here that I could see.
Two 4.5 ft holes at the pond hydrants.
The water table is only 4 ft down here.
...remind you of WWI? 
Next I thought about the hydrant into the log barn and dug it out. 
Hole to log barn hydrant  ...still no leak?!

"All right!" I said to my self. I am going to cut the water line to the barn and pond hydrants. So I dug a 4th hole to find the juction of the main water line and branch to the barn/pond hydrants. I cut the line and "walah!" ... the pump was still clicking on every 20 minutes.  What!!#@*!!!

The 4th hole at the junction of
the main line an line to the barn/pond hydrant.
Okay ... so now what?
Is the "pitless" at the well head leaking?
Is the most recent hydrant set by the garden leaking?

I dig out the well head and expose the branch line to the garden hydrant.

Main water line and branch
 to garden hydrant.

Well head. Hole #5.
(It only took me 1.5 hours to dig this 2.5x6x5 ft hole
           ...need a grave anybody? -or- maybe my own!)
The "wikileak" is in this line. It's repair will involve digging up the hydrant and starting there to seal the leak.

Since I cut each branch line from the main water line I decided to install a shut off valve that I can open/close using a long handled extension to isolate, locate and repair future leaks should they occur.

Brass shut off valve cased in using cinder blocks.
PCV pipe will allow a 5' handle to
open/close the shut off valve to branch lines.

Well head and shut off pipe. what if I had installed shut valves on each branch line during the original construction?


  1. You have always been inspiration for me, There are only so many people you meet in your life that you know instantly as being above and beyond genuine spirit, your drive and vigilance gives me and many others hope during these harsh times.

  2. I know it's a bit late, but kudos for locating the leak. Digging up several holes just to trace the culprit and fixing it afterward can be frustrating. You could save more time and effort if you just leave the task with the professional plumbers.


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